Death Is A Star

The first song on the first album by The Clash is Janie Jones, a rollicking, snarling, high octane dash through London circa 1977. The final song on their final album Combat Rock, 1983 is Death Is A Star. It is so un-Clash like, so far removed from the world and sound of the band from six years earlier it could be the work of a different band. Combat Rock was mixed to be a radio hit in the USA and the singes delivered that. They played in stadiums. Death Is A Star has a Strummer monologue, Mick Jones’ jazz piano tinklings, Topper playing with brushes, crickets chirping and a downbeat, solemn atmosphere. Joe said the song was examining why people queued up to see people get killed in films, what that meant and why people did it. It takes in motels, studio backlots, Spanish mountains, drugs, jungle warfare, flags going down and ‘smoking in the dark cinema as the guns go off again’. As a signing off, from the last album and from the band itself (although they weren’t to know this at the time), it’s hard to beat.

Death Is A Star(Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg Version)